Comprehensive Counseling Program Evaluation

Introduction: The Role of School Counseling

Program evaluation is aimed at aiding school counselors in planning, monitoring, and improving the learning process of students (Brown and Trusty, 2005, p. 435). It is often considered as an applied research discipline that seeks how to promote student achievements and developments thus being more focused on academic advancement. In that regard, the role of professional counselors is to indulge in the process of studying to impose a positive attitude to the learning process on students. As the main problem of all American schools lies in the multicultural conflicts, the proposed evaluation program is aimed at analyzing and introducing national and cultural equality to the process of study.

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Counseling Program Evaluation Cycle

This stage is aimed at defining the main concepts of programs content, its major principles, and implementations. At this stage, a counselor is to define the major services and curriculum provided to students (Coke et al. n. d. p. 208).

Program planning stage

The comprehensive school program should be based on the specific aspects of student development and growth. This approach presents mechanisms through which counseling teams will cooperate, manage, and evaluate their academic programs. Hence, the main components of the proposed comprehensive school counseling program cover personal and social development, career, and academic development. What is more important is that counselor should work out the structural system and define the participants of the program, financial support, professional staff, and managerial issues.

The program is focused on the individual examination of student skills, aptitudes, and competence. In this respect, counselors of comprehensive schools serve as facilitators of student improvement, as the main goal of each student is to graduate from high school and to obtain the skills to continue their further education. The individual planning program should also involve the training of communicational skills development, decision-making, awareness, and examination of education and career opportunities. These tasks should be carefully tackled by the counselors by implementing curriculum activities and programs. It should be stressed that customers should work with students to assess their interests, skills, and achievements. This assignment is carried through the introduction of different tests and other data. Other methods of information appraisal include interviews, anecdotal and academic records, career plans, and experience.

Program implementation stage

At this stage, counselors evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of academic programs for comprehensive schools. In particular, the following question should be considered:

What is the purpose of assessment?

The evaluation is directed at balancing the interrelations within the student group. The assessment process itself is well-coordinated and organized.

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Who assesses?

The assessment is headed by the counseling staff, instructors, and administrators controlling the overall process. The main task of the committee is to define the areas of responsibility.

What is the evaluation period?

The evaluation period usually corresponds to the K-12 education curriculum according to grades where each grade level approximately demands 3 weeks. This time will be enough for revealing the main problems in different educational spheres.

Program monitoring and refinement stage

To evaluate the proposed program effectively, it is necessary to carry out data collection and to examine the results of the testing process, interviews, and different observations from the part of the counselor. To pursue student development in more detail, it would be desirable to provide a questionnaire containing the issues connected with the career choice. This introduction will help to add amendments to the learning process and to positively influence the assessment outcome.

Outcomes assessment

The process of collection is divided into several stages depending on the time interval needed for preparing the results. The short-term material presents an immediate assessment of the learning process of a student. The intermediate data gathering takes a longer period and serves as the progress indicator of the goal achievement. Finally, a date that requires the longest collection period measures the programs’ final results. The counselors with insufficient competence levels are guided by the supporting and supervising staff. For this procedure, it is advisable to use software programs for data analysis (PowerPoint, Word, and Excel) that can promote better data interpretation and effective presentation.

Accountability Bridge

This is an intermediary level of the model presupposing communication with stakeholders, namely, with parents, students, and other comprehensive school counselors. During this stage, counselors can obtain additional support for their programs and services as well as increase demand for it. The outcomes of these negotiations are revealed through the presentation of summaries, reports, and discussions. Though the stage is an intermediary, it is an inherent component of the whole cycle.

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The Counseling Context Evaluation Cycle

This stage covers the process of acquiring feedback from stakeholders and applying the feedback and the results in the assessment stage to shape further educational programs. The needs assessment stage, then, is aimed identified the needs of the target student group. All those goals are based on the results obtained in the previous stage.

Feedback from stakeholders

By assessing the accountability bridge stage and examining the communication results, feedback from the stakeholders’ stage is aimed at defining the effectiveness of planning and implementation programs. The results show that the programs definitely conform to the standards and requirements, and therefore, they meet the requirements of stakeholders. The programs and services are also accepted for further improvement and implementation. On receiving the feedback, counselors go down to strategic planning, including the analysis and possible correction of the main principles and missions. In our case, the school counseling program is an inherent part of the overall education system. Therefore, the settled goal should address the initial mission statement, which is focused on individual appraisal of student skills and abilities. Moreover, the main principles and goals of the educational program should strictly conform to state standards. Once a new program and goals are clarified, new committees are formed that steer the implementation of the program for the counseling of the learning process.

Needs assessment

At this stage, several tasks need to be accomplished. First of all, it is necessary to review the existed program and consider all aspects to identify the new issues to be involved in it. To do that, legal and ethical issues should be introduced. Here it is necessary to answer the following questions:

  1. Does the program correspond to the recommendation imposed by the committee?
  2. How can this program be improved?

Once the needs assessment is conducted, the newly established plans and directions can be introduced to the new curriculum. The final stance of this needs’ assessment stage is program priorities identification based on the level of students’ competence and abilities.

Identification of service objectives

This stance presupposes the outline of major needs of the student by including them in the goals of our program. These issues should shape the basis for student and programs results and they should also be obtained arising from the needs assessment outcomes. Further on, it is necessary to single out the alterations in obligations, as each time a minor change is implemented, one should keep both the counselor and the stakeholders informed concerning what is happening. Then, it is also crucial to bear in mind a logical sequence of commands, as a well-organized presentation of a counseling program is an urgent condition for advancing student development. Hence, each participant of the program accomplishment, including counselors, stakeholders, and supporting team, should have an equal possibility to contribute to the overall procedure. As the concluding stroke to objectives identification, it is vital to define the outcomes of each change that occurred to provide an alternative decision for improvement of a counseling program for comprehensive school. To simplify the issue, one should divide the responsibilities and duties according to the subject areas.

Conclusions

By emphasizing the accountability program on both school counseling and education as a whole, counselors of comprehensive schools must introduce the evaluation programs to find alternative ways for improving the situation in the sphere of education. It is worth mentioning that program evaluation involves the necessity for the cooperation of efforts and effective division of responsibilities. In that regard, the Accountability Bridge Model offers school counselors an efficient scheme that includes consistent steps for overcoming the major problems in this field. This model manages to demonstrate the practical and theoretical gaps of counselors’ work and possible solutions for the improvement.

Reference List

Brown, D., and Trusty, J. (2005). Designing and leading comprehensive school counseling programs: promoting student competence and meeting student needs. US: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

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Coker, J. K., Astramovich, R. L., and Hoskins, W.J. (n. d.). Introducing the Accountability Bridge Model: A Program Evaluation Framework for School Counselors. Web.

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